The Spinto Band – Shy Pursuit album review

There are a bunch of bands that try to take the musical components of antiquity and make something fresh and interesting. They usually fail. Frank Zappa said something addressing this problem—that punk rock, for example, was simply a reincarnation of doo wop. The main difference between the two was the style of dress. In fact, this is true for other forms of consumable commercial art forms as well. The film industry, for example, lives off of the regurgitated ideas which define what a “genre” is. But some mediums—and some bands—actually pull of the incorporation of antiquity while staying relatively fresh.

The Spinto Band has continued to capture the strange and catchy sounds of olde while retaining their wholesome underground originality. Their latest full-length release Shy Pursuit is laced with Beach Boy style harmonies, early Pink Floyd psychedelic production with a poppy innocence that keeps things familiar yet strange. It’s kind of like Elliott Smith at his best minus the depressed suicidal melancholy . . . Maybe more like Elliott Smith on a high dosage of Prozac or Celexa and possibly a few hits of acid.

Songs like “Muesli” articulate a classic Buddy Holly vocal approach over the contemporary instrumentation of a rockabilly ballad. Others, such as “Jackhammer” begins: “Something says she wants you / She hangs on every word” the song continues, “Jackhammer / pounding on her door.” This scheme follows the old blues and rock tradition of the 50s, keeping the sexual innuendo just under the radar of evangelical record burning moms and dads.

The lighthearted existential disassociation of “Leave Yourself Alone” parallels the humorous paradoxical quality of the “Take It” video, which shows the incorporation of a board game about a board game so the kid that always loses can win. It’s pretty difficult to explain. You’ll just have to watch the video yourself.

The Spinto Band is pretty out there, but in a playful stoned-teenager-in-a-basement kind of way. If you love catchy melodic fun loving psychedelia reminiscent of Syd Barrett before he totally lost it, then I would not be shy in pursuing this album. Actually now that I think about it, the title is kind of creepy.

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